Last week, I filed my second column in as many weeks (read them here and here) about New York Governor Eliot Spitzer and his edict that illegal aliens will, effective December 1st, qualify for driver's licenses.
I told myself that I had written all that I had to say about the subject.
But I was wrong. After I monitored the explosive story for one more week, spoke to Rensselaer County Clerk Frank Merola who is bucking Spitzer by refusing to give licenses to aliens and consulted with VDARE.COM's "Anonymous Attorney", I realized that there is much more to report. [Lawmakers Debate Driver's License Plan, By Kenneth C. Crowe II and Paul Nelson, Albany Times Union, October 8, 2007]
After analyzing all the information, I have come to the somewhat surprising conclusion that, whatever the ultimate outcome may be in New York, Spitzer's treasonous behavior represents a win—and a huge one—for patriotic immigration reformers.
To begin at the beginning, I view the chaos surrounding driver's licenses for aliens through the eyes of someone who, with twenty years of experience in fighting for patriotic reform, has seen little if any evidence that government can successfully implement any immigration program that allegedly benefits us.
Instead we have seen one immigration failure follow another and heard promises made to us broken with impunity.
Spitzer's decree that he will allow New York illegal aliens to get licenses —the most blatant disregard for immigration law I've witnessed over two decades—will not be any different.
Spitzer vows that New York roads will be safer because the newly licensed will buy insurance—but with what money? And he pledges that licenses in the hands of aliens will enhance security—but how? All of the 9/11 terrorists would qualify under Spitzer's plan.
As we skeptics have learned the hard way, talk is cheap.
Spitzer's dream hinges on two variables both of which are deeply flawed:
That is, is the passport presented from, for example, a person claiming to be from Uganda, real or fraudulent? Proponents insist that the technology, provided by L-1 Identity Solutions, is failsafe. But last week, Wayne County clerk, Michael Jankowski, derisively referred to the document scanners as a "magic box coming down from Albany" and said details about the specifics had not yet reached his office.[ Spitzer's Plan Hit on Timing, Technology, By Benjamin Sarlin, New York Sun, October 10, 2007]
Whether the scanners are effective or not, many doubt that they will be in place before the December deadline. And most detractors agree that hurry-up training given to clerks, such as it may be, will be inadequate.
As Merola told me, "As great as our DMV employees are, they have never had any experience in foreign document checks."
That, Merola added, is an ICE responsibility. And, Merola continued, "even if the passports are current and valid, the holder of them may well be an illegal alien."
The foreign passport, if certified as legitimate, represents three of the necessary six points to qualify for a license. The balance of the needed points can come from a mish-mash of identification easily cooked up: a U.S. high school ID card or a report card (two points); a utility bill (one point); a supermarket check cashing card (one) or a cancelled check with the name pre-printed on its face (one). Read the entire list here.
New York's current list of 46 items deemed as acceptable I.D. will soon be expanded to 60. The exact details are not clear since, like everything else about Spitzer's legislation, sessions are held behind closed doors. But the purpose of a longer list obviously makes it easier for an alien to qualify.
Rumored among the documents to be added are prison parole papers - thus making an illegal alien convicted felon eligible. [Spitzer Aims to 'Persuade Ray Kelly To Back License Plan, Joe Mahoney and Frank Lombardi, New York Daily News, October 9, 2007]
In addition to coddling illegal immigrants, Spitzer's plan insults Americans who, unlike aliens, must present social security cards (two points). And according to Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., author of the REAL ID Act, Spitzer's proposal will require citizens to get a passport costing $97.00 to travel domestically by air.
Sensenbrenner said that citizens and green card holders: "should be legitimately outraged."
Two final indignities: aliens will be issued a license identical to those given to citizens. And, as Merola told me, to ease any inconvenience aliens might experience in the obtaining a license, they will be able to make DMV appointments for processing their application.
As with every immigration indignity, the failure of the federal government is glaring…and Spitzer is playing that card to cover up his own pathetic butt.
Imagine Spitzer's audacity when he claims that his policy evolves from Bush's failures. Talk about passing the buck!
"Let me be very clear about something —they, in Washington, have created a debacle. By failing to enforce the immigration laws for 20 years, we now have a million people in New York State whose immigration status may be a bit unclear. [emphasis added]
"The president is living in a fog where he would prefer that we in New York State ignore the reality. I as governor, as a prosecutor, am going to ensure the security of this state, and that's what this plan does.[ Spitzer Unbowed by Critics of License Plan, By Robert J. McCarthy, Buffalo News, October 11, 2007]
Of course, in this case, Spitzer is 100 percent correct. But to Bush, those should be fighting words. They're not though, since Spitzer is protecting Bush's beloved illegal aliens.
Think about Spitzer's gall. Here we have the liberal Democratic governor of a northeastern state telling a self-described conservative Republican Texas president that his federal government has failed and he, personally, is "in a fog."
Bush's reaction: nothing.
What Bush should do—to teach Spitzer manners, if no other reason—is:
Let the word go forth from his Oval Office that ICE agents should be randomly sent to various New York DMV offices—perhaps Queens in the morning and maybe the Bronx in the afternoon—and stand around with their big, black jackets that say "Police ICE".
The agents don't necessarily have to DO anything. They can just hang around sipping coffee.
Let's see how many illegal aliens come ahead while feds are standing in the lobby.
Well – why not?
Here's the good news. Whatever happens from here on, Spitzer has already lost.
Fellow Democrats like Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former Mayor Ed Koch and Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy oppose him as do many Democratic state senators and assemblymen.
The Republican State Senate, led by Martin Golden, will file legal action against Spitzer to force him to drop his plan. And clerks statewide, joining with Merola, insist they will not comply.
New York Representative Peter King (R) predicted:
"I think he's going to have to back down, even though he's a pretty stubborn guy. I know it's going to overwhelmingly pass the Senate, overriding his action."
On any level, a Spitzer defeat is a triumph for us. Looking at the big picture, the Spitzer fiasco sends the clear message to all other governors who might in their delusional dreams envision licenses for aliens as a winning political policy. They now know that it is a gross political error with serious, potentially career-ending ramifications.
I asked our "Anonymous Attorney" to comment on the following Spitzer outburst against Bloomberg when the mayor expressed reservations.
"I'm really skeptical that we should be issuing driver's licenses willy-nilly because it then leads to lots of other problems. But it's the governor's call."
"He is wrong at every level—dead wrong, factually wrong, legally wrong, morally wrong, ethically wrong." [Spitzer Blasts Bloomberg For Questioning Driver's License Plan, Kirsten Danis, Daily News, September 28, 2007]
"Bloomberg was probably trying to invoke 9/11, which is good, but the real issue is that driver's licenses for illegals is just another affirmation of the illegal alien surge by the power elite.
"What Spitzer really means is that it's immoral and unethical not to coddle illegals, and on that point, he's the one who's dead wrong."
That's why Spitzer is going to take the fall. He's wrong and none of his bombast and rhetoric can make him right.
Joe Guzzardi [e-mail him] is the Editor of VDARE.COM Letters to the Editor. In addition, he is an English teacher at the Lodi Adult School and has been writing a weekly newspaper column since 1988. This column is exclusive to VDARE.COM.